ADHD DIET: The Feingold Diet Program for ADHD

How to Begin?
Last update 2/21/2015

How do I begin?
Joining the Feingold Program and using it as your diagnostic tool will help you determine if certain foods or food additives are triggering some or all of the problems you are seeing. It is continued as a treatment. It can also be combined with any other necessary medical treatments.

Remember that reading labels is not enough. Eliminating one or two or three food dyes alone is not enough. Some people do see some improvement even then -- but they can expect to see lots more improvement when they do the whole diet.

How do I run this test?
Handbook & Foodlist Buy products that are free of the additives listed above and the problematic salicylates. Keep a diet diary and watch for changes in symptoms.

The Feingold Association membership materials includes a Foodlist & Shopping Guide which includes products by brand name known to be free of the additives and salicylates to be avoided.

While you may be able to reintroduce many (or all) of the fruits and vegetables during Stage Two by "testing for tolerance," you will not reintroduce the artificial color, flavors and petroleum based preservatives. They are eliminated permanently. This will not cause any kind of deficiency, but on the contrary – many of these additives have shown long-term harm for your health, as neurotoxins, tumor promoters, and enzyme suppressors. Good riddance!!

How do I know which foods and brands are okay to use?

The Feingold Association provides this information. We research brand name products to be sure they don't have any of the foods or additives of concern. This is very important because of FDA labeling loopholes.

Go to The Feingold Store to see how to get the Program either as electronic (PDF) documents or as printed books.

WHY can't I just read ingredient labels?

The FDA labeling laws, unfortunately, do not require labels to be complete -- or even accurate! (Hold your cursor over the label at right for an example)

Because of loopholes in the law, reading labels doesn't always tell you when oil, shortening or packaging is preserved, when secondary ingredients (like sodium nitrite) contain food dyes, etc. A group of parents formed the Feingold Association (FAUS) because parents needed to know. They learned what to ask manufacturers, and have been doing this product information research for almost 40 years. To have its product accepted for the Feingold Foodlist & Shopping Guide, the manufacturer must fill out forms with complete information about ingredients, secondary ingredients, and wrappers. This information is regularly updated and passed on to our members via newsletters and email alerts.
Warning You need to know EXACTLY which brand name items are okay to use, as the same company often has similar items where one is additive-free and one is not. This is very important. Many people have not found the expected results by just reading labels, never knowing they have been booby-trapped by hidden additives ... or because they don't understand the importance of Stage One ... because they are not really doing the Feingold diet.

Will I have to give up the foods I enjoy?

No, aside from temporarily removing the salicylates (some of the common fruits, etc.), you can continue to use most of your favorite foods. For example, the you would buy cookies, ice cream, mixes, convenience foods, cereals, etc., but you would select those versions that do not have the unwanted additives. The Foodlist & Shopping Guide includes over 400 pages of products by brand name and is updated regularly. Members are notified of changes as necessary via email alerts and our newsletter, Pure Facts.

Will I have to shop in specialty stores or health food stores?

Most of the items you will use can be found in your neighborhood supermarket or discount store. Some hard-to-find items can be ordered online. Of course, if you are lucky enough to find a Whole Foods Store near you, it can make shopping more fun.

So why do I need a Program? Why can't I buy just the Foodlist?

The Foodlist is important. But it is like giving you the list of ingredients for a recipe, but not the directions for what to do with them. The Feingold Handbook walks you step-by-step through the process of using the diet, and helps you deal with problems or issues as they come up. You need all of it as well as the person-to-person support you'll get.

Want person-to-person support?

We offer a phone HelpLine through our Program Assistants, an email HelpLine, a Members Support Forum, and a Members-Only Facebook Group where you will make new friends and help each other. Besides that, you will receive a monthly Pure Facts newsletter, and product alerts as needed. The books include the Foodlist, the Handbook, and the Fast Food Guide. In addition to this, about a week after joining, you will receive a Search Tool for your smart phone (or computer) that gives you direct access to the Product Information Database itself.

I don't live in the U.S. or Canada. Is there help for me?

Yes. See the new International Feingold Program.

How can I learn more?